Over the years, much progress has been made in reducing the stigma surrounding certain medical conditions, such as HIV and cancer. However, the same cannot be said for substance use disorders. Those struggling with addiction often face blame and shame for their condition, which can lead to a lack of understanding, support, and effective treatment. Overcoming addiction stigma is crucial to helping people get the help they so desperately need.
Despite the recognition of addiction as a disease, many individuals still view it as a personal choice or moral failure. In fact, research shows that addiction is more highly stigmatized than other health issues like mental illness. In fact:
These statistics highlight the extent of stigma and discrimination those struggling with substance abuse face. The negative attitudes and beliefs towards people with substance use disorders are deeply ingrained in society and often result in individuals facing isolation, shame, and difficulty accessing support and treatment. And when the country is waging war on drugs due to the opioid crisis, it is more important than ever to address the stigma and discrimination towards people struggling with substance abuse.
Stigma increases the risk of opioid overdose cases by discouraging people from seeking help due to fear of rejection. It can also prevent people in recovery from being able to fully reintegrate into society, impacting their employment, housing, and social opportunities. It is important to challenge these stigmatizing beliefs and attitudes toward addiction and promote empathy, understanding, and support for those struggling with addiction. Ending stigma is the best way to save lives.
Stigma refers to negative attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes that are attached to individuals or groups based on certain characteristics or circumstances, such as addiction. Stigma can create a barrier for individuals seeking help or support and exacerbate feelings of shame, guilt, low self-worth, and isolation.
According to the 2021 survey by NSDUH, 40.7 million adults with substance use disorders did not get treatment at a specialty facility. Of this number, 39.5 million (96.8%) didn’t feel like they needed treatment, and 837,000 (2.1%) believed they needed care but didn’t try to get treatment.
Some examples of stigma towards those with addiction include:
Stigma related to heavy drinking and illegal drug use can come from various sources, including primary care physicians, friends, family, employers, media, and society. The justice system also contributes to stigma because it incarcerates those with addiction instead of helping them seek treatment.
Various resources are available for people struggling with addiction, including support groups like Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which offer a community of peers who understand the challenges of addiction. You can also join inpatient or outpatient programs for a safe and supportive environment that allows you to focus on your recovery. Treatment centers provide a range of treatment options that include:
Remember that recovery is a journey, and it is important to be patient and kind to yourself along the way. You can overcome addiction and lead a healthy and fulfilling life with the right support and resources. Don’t suffer in silence; reach out for help today.
Harm reduction is a public health approach that aims to reduce the harms associated with drug or alcohol use, even if the individual is not yet ready to quit. Harm reduction strategies can include safe injection sites, needle exchange programs, and overdose prevention initiatives. Harm reduction efforts can help individuals manage the risks associated with drug or alcohol use and provide a supportive and non-judgmental approach to addiction.
If you are struggling with addiction, knowing that you are not alone is important. Addiction is a common issue that affects millions of people around the world. While it may feel like you are the only one dealing with this problem, many others are also struggling and seeking help. By reaching out for help, you can connect with others who understand what you are going through and provide you with support and encouragement.
Drug overdose is a significant public health issue that affects all age groups. However, it is particularly concerning among seniors, who are dying at an alarming rate due to drug overdoses. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of seniors who have died from drug overdoses, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
This data reveals a frightening trend in drug overdose deaths among older adults. In a single decade, alcohol and drug use among the elderly has skyrocketed, and as a result, more and more seniors are dying of an overdose. It begs the question, is it that more people from the 60’s & 70’s counterculture movements (hippies, beatniks, etc.) are now approaching their golden years? Or, is it simply that illicit and prescription drugs are more dangerous nowadays?
Many factors contribute to the high overdose rates among the baby boomer population. Along with regular health care procedures and recreational drug use, more and more seniors are becoming a significant part of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States.
Prescription medications, particularly opioid painkillers, significantly contribute to drug overdose among seniors. According to the CDC, seniors are more likely to be prescribed opioids and other medicines for pain relief that can be misused or overdosed on. They are also more likely to experience adverse side effects from these medications, such as respiratory depression, which can be life-threatening.
There are several reasons why seniors may be at increased risk of overdose from prescription medications. One reason is that they are more likely to have chronic pain, terminal illness, dementia, etc., that require multiple medications, increasing the risk of drug interactions and overdose. Additionally, age-related changes in the body, such as decreased kidney or liver function, can affect how medications are metabolized, increasing the risk of overdose.
Prescription drug abuse is also an issue among seniors. Many people mistakenly believe prescription medications are safer than illicit drugs, so they may be more willing to abuse them.
Another major factor underlying drug overdose deaths in seniors is a history of substance abuse. Many individuals reaching their golden years were part of the “hippie” or “free love” counterculture movement in the 1960s and 1970s. During this era, the use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD was popular, as was the use of marijuana.
Unfortunately, many of these individuals have carried their substance abuse habits into old age. They are now more vulnerable to overdosing on substances due to decreased tolerance and physiological changes that come with aging.
Today’s drugs are more powerful and, therefore, more dangerous than in the past. For example, the synthetic opioid fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and can cause death in even small doses. Fentanyl has been linked to a dramatic increase in overdose deaths over the past few years and is particularly deadly for seniors due to their decreased tolerance.
Alcohol use has also increased among seniors, and heavy drinking is becoming more common in this age group. Binge drinking is a particular concern, as it can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning and other health problems. But in many cases, alcohol is pushed to the side in discussions about substance use and addiction.
Older adults are drinking alcohol, and this is driving deaths from overdose, accidents, and liver disease. Besides, mixing alcohol and other drugs, especially depressants, significantly increases overdose risk.
The National Institutes of Health points out that some seniors may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with significant life changes. Retirement, the death of a spouse, or illness can all be difficult for seniors to handle and can increase their risk of substance abuse. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on seniors, who are more likely to experience isolation and loneliness due to social distancing measures. These feelings can lead some seniors to abuse drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with their situation.
Mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma, are a major risk factor for substance abuse and overdose in seniors. According to the World Health Organization, older adults are more likely to have mental health problems than their younger counterparts due to ongoing loss in capacities, the decline in functional ability, life-changing events, a drop in socioeconomic status with retirement, etc. These stressors can result in isolation, loneliness, or psychological distress in older people, leading to increased substance use and overdose.
Given the unique challenges that seniors face, it is important for caregivers, loved ones, and even healthcare providers to be aware of the warning signs of substance abuse and addiction and the available treatment options. Substance abuse is a serious issue that can lead to life-threatening consequences, and seniors need to get the help they need.
But in many cases, older adults have difficulty accessing treatment due to transportation, financial issues, and stigma. As such, they may need extra support and encouragement from family, friends, and the community.
If a senior is struggling with substance abuse, they must get professional help as soon as possible to lessen the risk of overdose and other health problems. By recognizing the unique challenges seniors face and addressing substance abuse issues early on, we can help to reduce the number of overdose deaths in this age group.
As part of an ongoing war on drugs, in November 2020, Oregon became the first state in the US to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs. The measure, known as Measure 110, was widely praised by drug policy reform advocates as a progressive step that would help to reduce the stigma around drug use and provide people with drug addiction problems with much-needed treatment.
Measure 110 made personal possession of methamphetamine, heroin, LSD, oxycodone, and other drugs punishable by a $100 fine rather than jail time. This was in a bid to reduce incarceration rates and redirect funds toward addiction treatment programs. These treatment programs would be funded through marijuana tax revenue and savings from decreased law enforcement costs.
The Oregon Health Authority, one of many behavioral health resource networks, announced on September 22 that it had completed awarding the first two years of funding to nonprofits under Oregon’s decriminalization of drugs law.
According to OHA, the first round of grants totaled $302 million. Despite this milestone, experts warned that more than just services would be needed to curb the high rates of drug use and resulting societal costs in the state. Keith Humphreys told the Oregon lawmakers that the state should adjust its permissive approach as it encourages drug use without any deterrent.
“Because the West Coast has an individualistic culture with a tolerance for substance abuse, social pressures to seek treatment are often minimal,” said Keith Humphreys, the Founder, and co-director at the Stanford Network on Addiction Policy.
“So, on the one hand, we have widely available and highly rewarding drugs. On the other hand, little or no pressure to stop using them. Under those conditions, we should expect to see exactly what Oregon is experiencing: extensive drug use, extensive addiction, and not much treatment seeking.” (Source)
According to Humphreys, people struggling with addiction hardly seek treatment without pressure from loved ones, health care providers, or the law. He says this should be a concern because the state has lifted the legal pressure to stop substance abuse and seek treatment. Besides, since many people who struggle with use don’t work or keep in touch with loved ones, the pressure to quit might not come from those sources, either. (Source)
M110 allows the law authorities to write $100 tickets for personal possession of small amounts of drugs, and the charged person can just call the Life helpline line and have their ticket removed. It all seems very easy to get away with abusing drugs.
But despite that, many people who are issued these tickets still ignore them, according to Dr. Todd Korthuis, the head of addiction medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. By the end of this summer, 3000 tickets were issued, and only 137 calls were made. Even more disturbing is that most callers were not seeking treatment but only screening for legal reasons. (Source)
The Oregon voters voted in favor of Measure 110, which decriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs and redirected 110 funds from law enforcement to addiction treatment. The measure was designed to address the state’s public health crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to proponents of the measure, it would help to reduce the number of those incarcerated for drug-related offenses and redirect funds to much-needed addiction treatment programs. In addition, by decriminalizing drug possession, the measure will help to reduce the stigma associated with addiction and make it more likely that people will seek treatment.
When the voters passed the ballot measure, they recognized drug addiction and overdoses are a serious problem in Oregon; and that the state needed to increase access to drug treatment. The health-based approach to drug use problems is not only more humane but also effective and cheaper than criminal punishments. Making people criminals because they abuse drugs or struggle with addiction is costly and life-ruining, making it hard to seek treatment.
On February 1, 2021, the laws regulating controlled substances’ possession changed from felonies to Class E violations. Measure 110 is designed to ensure that anyone who wants access, assessment, treatment, and recovery services for substance use gets it.
By all accounts, Measure 110 was set to reduce the pressure on drug users seeking treatment or help. However, going by statistics, it seems to be failing because Oregon has a nearly 20% surge in overdose deaths in the year that ended in April 2022. And according to Dr. Tod Korthuis, Oregon has one of the highest rates of substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Conversely, it ranks the least for access to treatments in the nation.
Humphreys and Korthuis don’t fault Measure 110 for the spiking overdose deaths and other drug-related issues. However, they believe these trends have outpaced the state’s addiction treatment system.
Measure 110 is the first of its kind in the United States. The only other country that has tried it successfully is Portugal, which is often cited as an inspiration. Initially, the country had harsh policies led by the criminal justice system. It needed to try something else. So, in 2001, Portugal took a radical step and became the first country globally to decriminalize the consumption of all drugs.
Speaking about what needs to be done, Humphreys mentioned that Portugal puts heavy legal and social pressure on those abusing drugs to get help. And despite the decriminalization of drugs, one can hardly see people openly using or dealing drugs, as in West Coast cities of the US. That’s because they close operations and use court pressure to lead them into treatment.
“I have spent a lot of time in Portugal, and I know the people who designed their policy,” Humphreys said. “Please take it from me; Oregon is not following Portugal’s example and will not get its results.” (Source)
Humphreys further mentioned the need for harm reduction, which emphasizes engaging directly with addicts to prevent overdose, and transmission of infectious disease, improve physical, social, and mental well-being and offer low-threshold options for accessing addiction treatment and other health care. He recommended solutions like making Naloxone (opioid antagonist) more available to reduce overdose deaths.
Poverty is one of the most significant predictors of drug abuse and addiction. Individuals who live in poverty are more likely to turn to drugs to cope with the stress and challenges of their lives. At the same time, drug abuse can lead to further poverty, chronic illness, and mental health problems.
A 2019 study found that most opioid overdose cases across 17 states were concentrated in zip codes with lower education and median household income as well as higher rates of unemployment and poverty. Another UNODC study dubbed Socioeconomic Characteristics and Drug Use Disorders found that those who belong to disadvantaged groups had the highest relative level of risk of suffering from an addiction. This could be due to homelessness, social exclusion and inequality, and mental health problems that are also synonymous with poverty.
While poverty is not the only factor for substance abuse in the United States, it is certainly important. People living in poverty are more likely to be predisposed to risk factors linked to higher rates of substance abuse. They may also live in poverty-stricken areas often home to illegal drug activity, making drugs more accessible.
The link between poverty and drug abuse is complex and multi-layered. Poverty can both lead to drug abuse and be a consequence of it.
There are several ways that poverty increases the likelihood of drug abuse. For example, people who grow up in poverty may be more likely to associate with others who use drugs, making them more likely to develop a substance abuse problem. Biological factors are also at play, as people who live in poverty are more likely to experience chronic stress, which can alter brain chemistry and make someone more vulnerable to addiction. Financial issues can be a leading source of stress for many younger adults.
Here’s a quick look at some of the ways poverty can contribute to drug abuse:
Poverty and drug abuse often go hand-in-hand. Drug use can also lead to poverty in different ways.
Individuals struggling with addiction often need help addressing the underlying causes of their drug abuse. This may include treatment for addiction and mental health problems. Treatment facilities should also address underlying issues causing the addiction. This includes things like providing:
Treating the root causes of addiction gives individuals a better chance of achieving long-term recovery. This, in turn, can help break the cycle of poverty and addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to those who need them.
There’s no denying that drugs and music have always had a close relationship. For many people, using drugs is a way to enhance their musical experience, whether it’s dancing all night at a club or losing themselves in an eclectic mix at a festival. However, it’s worth noting that not all music fans use drugs, and many live performances are perfectly enjoyable without any chemical assistance.
Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that drugs have played a major role in music history, especially when it comes to large live performances. Artists such as Pink Floyd and The Grateful Dead were known for their elaborate stage shows, often designed to be experienced while under the influence of drugs.
In recent years, electronic dance music has become closely associated with drug use, with festivals like Tomorrowland and Ultra becoming known as hotbeds of illicit activity.
Music concerts are a visual feast for the senses, with bright lights, flashing colors, and dizzying patterns. But have you ever wondered where these visuals come from? It turns out that many of them are inspired by drug use.
For example, the trippy patterns used in concert visuals are similar to those experienced during an acid trip. And the flashing lights can mimic the effects of strobing lights on a dance floor. By creating visuals that are reminiscent of drug-induced states, concertgoers can feel like they’re experiencing the music in a whole new way.
Music and drugs have been linked together for centuries. In the early days, people commonly used psychoactive drugs to enhance their music experience. Drugs like alcohol and tobacco were used to relax and improve the taste of music. Amphetamines were also common, with rock and roll artists like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis relying on them for their wild onstage antics.
In more recent times, illegal drugs like LSD and MDMA have been used by people searching for a more intense musical experience. Some claim that these drugs can help them appreciate music in a whole new way, while others enjoy the heightened sensations and feelings of euphoria that they can produce.
Music, in turn, has always been a part of the drug culture in the United States. Many drugs, especially psychedelics, are associated with specific genres of music, such as acid house or trance. For many people, taking drugs is an integral part of the musical experience, as it can help them feel more connected to the music and other people. Drug use can also be seen as rebelling against society’s norms and expectations.
Besides, many musicians have experimented with alcohol or drugs in an attempt to improve their creativity. Some believe that substances can help open up the mind and allow new ideas to flow. However, it is worth noting that many successful musicians have composed great songs without resorting to drugs or alcohol.
There’s also a close link between music and substance use disorders. In some cases, people may use drugs to enhance their experience of listening to music. But in others, the connection between music and partying can lead to drug use or addiction or trigger mental disorders that cause them to turn to drugs to cope.
One of the most common drugs used at parties is MDMA, also known as “ecstasy” or “molly.” MDMA is a stimulant that can cause feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and pleasure. It can also increase heart rate and blood pressure, dehydration, and anxiety.
When taken in large doses or combined with other drugs, MDMA can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Since MDMA is often used at all-night parties or nightclubs, people who use the drug may not get enough sleep, leading to fatigue, irritability, and memory problems. Long-term use of MDMA can also cause withdrawal symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.
For people struggling with addiction, the connection between drugs and music can be dangerous. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, party settings are risk factors for relapse, as they trigger cravings. At the same time, listening to music can make it harder to resist the urge to use drugs. The National Institutes on drug use research indicates that relapses are common, happening in 40-60% of the cases.
Many people who attend live music performances are using drugs. According to research by DrugAbuse.com, 57% of people admitted to using drugs or alcohol, with 93% consuming alcoholic beverages. Additionally, about 40% used marijuana at live music events, followed by 8% who used hallucinogens or MDMA (Molly or ecstasy).
Large live music performances often incorporate heavy visuals into their shows, expecting that many crowd members will be under the influence of drugs. These visuals help to:
Many drugs cause users to experience sensory overload, and the introduction of visual elements can help ground them and prevent them from becoming overwhelmed.
Besides, drugs can alter perception and make it difficult to process complex information. As a result, simpler visual images are more likely to be comprehended by those under the influence. Also, bright colors and patterns can be more stimulating and enjoyable for people on drugs.
Going to a live music performance can be an incredibly exhilarating experience. Whether you’re seeing your favorite band or exploring a new genre, there’s nothing quite like being in a room full of people who share the same love of music. But you may worry about being around others who might be using drugs. While it is true that many concerts do use heavy visuals that can be enhanced by drug use, there are ways to enjoy the show while remaining sober.
When most people think of drug addiction, they picture someone using illegal drugs like meth or heroin over prolonged periods of time. However, addiction can happen after a few tries and involve any drugs, including legal ones like alcohol and prescription medications.
Drug use is often glamorized in the media, especially in music. Concerts, in particular, can be a breeding ground for drug use.
Many people view drug use as a harmless way to have fun and let loose. However, drug use comes with serious risks. In addition to the risk of addiction, drugs can also lead to mental and physical health problems.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, resources are available to help. Rehab facilities offer vast treatments for drug addiction, including detox, in-patient and outpatient care, and therapies. The Institutes of Health also recommends getting support from friends, family members and support groups.
Alcohol is legal and readily available in restaurants, grocery stores, sports games, and clubs. It is also widely advertised. Anyone 21 years or older can walk into a bar and grab wine, liquor, or beer in America. As long as they don’t drink in public places like vehicles, sidewalks, and parks, they’re good to go. Alcohol does not carry the same stigma as other drugs. So why is alcohol a socially more acceptable addiction in our society?
Many people consider alcohol a necessary element for relaxing or having a good time. They drink to celebrate, commiserate or wind up after a long day at work. In fact, society itself encourages alcohol as a way of life with phrases like “one for the road” or “relax with a glass of wine.” Some churches even drink wine during religious customs like Eucharist.
Drinking is socially acceptable. Sadly, the prevalence has seen many people desensitized to the harmful effects of alcoholic beverages. People have and will continue to normalize drinking alcohol in a way that would never be tolerated with other drugs.
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that creates euphoria and relaxation. It does not carry the stigma of other drugs like cocaine or marijuana, yet a 2010 study shows that it is the world’s most dangerous drug when considering the harm it does to drinkers, along with their loved ones. To this end, it is more harmful than crack cocaine and heroin.
There has been lots of media commentary on the binge drinking culture of young Americans and the need to sensitize people on the dangers of alcohol. But different theories and models about health beliefs, drinking cultures, and behavioral change suggest that this alone might not work. The increasing liberalization of alcohol normalizes drinking, and use becomes engrained in the daily fabric of life.
Despite the dangers mentioned above, people are still more accepting of alcohol and alcohol addiction for these reasons:
One of the biggest reasons alcohol is socially more acceptable than other drugs is legalization. The legal aspect makes alcohol more accessible than other drugs. It also gives people the impression that it’s safe. And with the availability and normalization, young adults are more inclined to try alcohol.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reveals that 70% of high school students will have tried alcohol by the time they’re seniors. And this is primarily due to easy access – at home and in the marketplace.
Alcohol has always been there and has been part of people’s traditions, culture, and history. Since time immemorial, it has been used in parties, celebrations, agreements, etc. So, society is sort of wired to believe that alcohol should be a part of such occasions.
In addition to having history on its side, alcohol is seen as an excellent taste for pairing foods, like pizza and beer or wine and cheese. In fact, in countries like France and Italy, wine is an integral part of religious ceremonies and mealtimes.
In other parts of the world, alcohol serves as a statement of affiliation, a label defining the nature of social events or situations, or an indicator of social status. People don’t consider alcohol dangerous because they feel they can control the amount they take. Some even assume that alcohol only harms serious drinkers or those who drink the cheap stuff. But this is not true.
Some people believe that alcohol is safe and not as harmful as other drugs like cocaine, meth, or heroin. While this might be true, alcohol is known to cause serious side effects like impaired judgment, insomnia, mental health issues, etc. Not only that. It also causes addiction, with statistics revealing that about 300 million people worldwide have alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Alcohol is responsible for 1 in every 20 (or 5.3%) deaths globally.
Alcoholic beverages are widely advertised on all media. From magazines to billboards and televisions to online, it’s hard to miss an alcohol commercial on any given day. The constant advertising embeds alcohol in our minds, making it seem like a normal part of our lives. Add that to endless drinking songs that play on the radio, and you begin to understand why alcohol is the most widely abused substance in the US.
Sadly, the exposure and availability lead young adults to experiment with alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reveals that about 5,000 people under the age of 21 years die because of underage drinking every year. This includes approximately:
Like many people, you probably assume that an occasional glass of wine or beer at mealtimes or special occasions is harmless. But drinking any amount of alcohol can cause unwanted health issues. Here are some short- and long-term health problems associated with alcohol.
Temporary effects may include:
At a personal level, heavy drinking can lead to the development of long-term health conditions like:
Alcohol use is also known to cause a range of health care concerns like:
Here are some factors that may increase your chances of experiencing AUD:
If you or someone close to you is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, it’s best to seek treatment. Untreated addiction can stop your life in its tracks. AUD is a progressive disease whose effects and severity worsen over time without treatment.
The good news is that there are different treatment programs and therapy sessions designed to help you stop drinking and lead a sober life. Don’t let substance abuse cripple your life. Get the help you need today.
Using more than one drug at a time is dangerous, yet people still experiment with various drugs. Most drug combinations intensify the effects of each individual drug making them more dangerous than they were before.
Combining substances, whether illicit or prescription drugs may result in drug overdose, and in some cases, death. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, mixing drugs can change the way an active ingredient works. It can amplify the ingredient’s effect on the body, make it less effective or have other unexpected results.
Some popular drug combinations that kill are:
· Gray death.
· Alcohol and benzodiazepines.
· Heroin and cocaine.
· MDMA and magic mushrooms.
Let’s look at these popular drug combinations in detail.
This is a lethal drug combination that is gaining popularity at a very high rate among the youth. It consists of different varieties of opioids such as:
· The powerful painkiller fentanyl
· An animal tranquilizer carfentanil
· U-47700 a synthetic opioid popularly known as “Pink”.
The combination resembles gravel or concrete mixing powder which can be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed. It is extremely dangerous even in small dose. In fact, it is so lethal, it can seep through the skin into the bloodstream if handled with bare hands.
Gray death causes a range of side effects like slow breathing, loss of consciousness and heart failure. This lethal combination has caused many opioid overdose deaths. According to the CDC, about 71,000 overdose deaths involved an opioid in 2019. These deaths occurred across the US.
Drug dealers sell the concoction cheaply in the streets, going for as low as $10. The low-price has made it easily accessible leading to an increase in the number of deaths resulting from overdose cases.
Since Gray death is a fairly new combo, most users are unaware of its adverse effects. In order to prevent more deaths from occurring, authorities around the world are creating awareness about the dangers of using this combination and encouraging those already using it to seek medical help.
Mixing drugs and alcohol is dangerous. In addition to running a higher risk of side effects from mixing the two substances, you have a greater chance of overdose and death. That’s why health care providers recommend avoiding this combination.
Benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax are central nervous depressants used to treat insomnia, stress and anxiety. They are generally safe when taken as prescribed. Mixing alcohol with benzos not only enhances the effects, but also increases the risk of overdose death. That’s why every warning label on benzo containers caution against mixing the drugs with alcohol. Doctors also instruct their patients not to drink alcohol when taking benzos.
This combination is also known to cause side effects like:
· Organ failure
· Brain damage
· Extreme drowsiness
· Slow breathing, causing insufficient oxygen supply to the brain
· Increased reduction in cognitive ability
· Increased risk of developing a substance use disorder
· Increased potential for unpredictable effects
This is an injected combo of cocaine and heroin commonly referred to as “speedball”. Both drugs affect the dopaminergic brain process leading to a combined effect. The combination is highly addictive.
Most drug users believe that when you combine heroin and cocaine, they cancel each other’s effects since they have opposing effects. However, this is not the case. When you combine the two drugs, their negative effects of both are amplified. The combo leads to a state of “push-pull” in the body, putting a strain on circulatory and respiratory systems. As a result, your body becomes confused as it is processing two toxic substances which are complete opposite of each other at the same time.
Users who want to have the speedball effect dissolve both drugs in liquid and inject the mixture to achieve an extremely quick and intense high. Cocaine’s high lasts for a short period, while that of heroin lasts much longer. Therefore, those who combine the two drugs use more cocaine to prolong the speedball effect.
Mixing heroin and cocaine increases the risk of drug overdose and death. It may also result in a number of deadly symptoms such as increased heart rate, cardiac arrest, blurred vision and even stroke. Over the years, many people have lost their lives to accidental overdose, with speedball overdose being one of the main causes.
It is important to create awareness on the risks of speed balling and also know how to identify danger signs in users and call for emergency help when the need arises.
Mixing MDMA (ecstasy) and psilocybin mushrooms also known as “Hippie flipping” or “flower flipping” has been in practice for years. Users mix the two so that they can enjoy the synergy of their combined effects. They experience a feel-good high when trippy visuals of mushrooms meet with sensory elevation caused by MDMA.
Since both drugs affect the pleasure centre of the brain, the combined effect impacts the user’s mood and temperament, inducing unusual sensory experiences. The hippie flipping feeling lasts about six hours although some users have reported feeling mild effects a day or two after.
There is a high risk of overdose and even death when mixing MDMA and Magic mushroom. MDMA can cause serotonin to be produced in the brain leading to increased heart rate, high blood pressure, muscle cramping and high temperatures. However, these effects vary based on factors such as the user’s personality and mood, age and health status.
People that use these lethal drug combinations may be unaware of the danger involved until it’s too late. There is a need for aggressive education and awareness on the risks of drug interactions, especially among the young people.
When you get addicted to using any of the above drug combinations, it would be best to seek treatment before the drugs significantly affect your physical or mental health.
Professionals will identify the root cause of addiction and take you through an individualized treatment program. You will undergo a medical detox and a rehabilitative inpatient program to help you through the early tough days of recovery. Afterwards, your doctor will refer you to support groups which will help you maintain your sobriety.
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a non-flammable gas used for pain relief and sedation. It was discovered in the 1700s, and since then, medical practitioners, including dentists, use it as an anesthetic to sedate their patients before conducting minor procedures. Other anesthetic gases commonly used in the United States are: isoflurane, halothane, sevoflurane, and desflurane.
Other than medicinal uses, NO2 is used in the automotive industry and food industry. In the automotive industry, some enthusiasts use nitrous oxide to improve engine performance.
With the rising number of drug abuse cases, partygoers discovered nitrous oxide and started using it to feel high or intoxicated. Today, it is one of the most common drugs in the music festival scene. You’ll likely find nitrous oxide at any concert you attend. It goes by several names, including: whippets, nangs, hippy crack, balloons, nitro, buzz bomb, N20, NO and ice cold fatties.
Nitrous oxide is a dissociative anaesthetic. Therefore, it somehow dissociates the mind from the body, giving patients or users a sense of floating. Other common side effects include intense visual hallucinations and distorted perceptions.
This article discusses the various effects of nitrous oxide gas when consumed as a recreational drug. Additionally, we will look at the results of mixing it with other drugs and the risks of inhaling nitrous oxide.
Users commonly inhale NO2 by releasing nitrous gas cartridges (whippets/bulbs) into a different object, e.g., a balloon. Some inhale it directly from the gas cylinders, like a can for whipping cream.
The effect of nitrous oxide abuse varies from person to person. Some of the factors that determine how nitrous oxide affects an individual are:
Inhaling nitrous oxide has both short-term and long-term effects.
Shortly after an individual inhales the gas from latex balloons or cartridges, they get excited, a rush of euphoria, and a sense of floating. This feeling disappears after a few minutes. Nitrous oxide abuse can cause the following short term effects:
If individuals consume excess nitrous oxide at once, they may experience high blood pressure, temporary loss of consciousness, or even get a heart attack.
Continuous use of nitrous oxide may lead to the following long term effects:
At the moment, there’s not enough research to conclude that mixing nitrous oxide with other illegal drugs increases an individual’s health risks. However, there are instances when combining nitrous with other drugs increases results in other additional symptoms.
If you mix nitrous with alcohol, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:
Other than that, mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol may increase one’s risk of accidents and death.
If you mix nitrous oxide with any stimulant, the chances are that the combination will affect your heart rate and breathing rate.
Mixing nitrous oxide with depressants like opiates or benzodiazepines may increase the chances of an overdose due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.
When you inhale nitrous oxide from the tanks or whippets, the gas is extremely cold, approximately -40 degrees Celsius. Therefore, you will likely get frostbite on your lips, nose, throat, and vocal cords.
Additionally, nitrous oxide is generally under constant pressure. Therefore, when you inhale it directly from the containers, they may cause your lung tissues to rupture.
Another risk is that the gas dispensers may explode if they are faulty. If this happens, you may end up hurt in the process.
Crackers used to dispense gas canisters may also result in cold burns on your hands.
Since nitrous oxide is a gas, there aren’t any doses associated with overdose or toxicity. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has specific standards on the nitrous oxide amounts that dentists and other medical practitioners should use on patients, specifically for medicinal reasons. The WHO classifies the standards into two categories: chronic exposure and acute exposure.
WHO recommends that medical practitioners use 20 parts per billion (ratio between nitrous oxide and breathable air) for chronic exposures. For acute exposures, they should (ideally) use any amount below 100 parts per billion for one hour.
People who directly inhale nitrous from the containers are more likely to exceed this recommended amount. Consequently, they experience overdose and toxic side effects a few minutes after inhaling the gas.
Some signs of overdose include:
If your loved one shows any signs of overdose, call an ambulance immediately and inform the operator that the individual overdosed on nitrous oxide. If they lose consciousness, place them in the recovery position and ensure that their airway is clear. Check the breathing to ensure they are still breathing. If not, do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
When the paramedics arrive, inform them of the exact drugs your loved one took, especially if they mixed them with other drugs.
There is no safe level of using drugs or alcohol, and nitrous oxide is no exception. There’s always a risk that comes with any drug and alcohol abuse.
Using nitrous oxide can affect your health, finances, work, relationships, school, and other aspects of your life. If you notice that nitrous oxide has negatively affected you or your loved one, seek professional help. Contact us today to start your recovery journey. We will help you settle on a treatment center that suits you best.
Having erection trouble from time to time is not necessarily a cause for concern. However, if it happens regularly, it could be a sign of an underlying problem. Impotence can happen due to a range of reasons, including emotional and physical disorders as well as drug abuse. In this article, we’ll focus on the relationship between impotence and drug abuse.
Impotence happens when you are unable to achieve an erection, keep an erection, or orgasm consistently. It’s used synonymously with erectile dysfunction (ED) and may be as a result of factors like:
According to the Urology Care Foundation, impotence is a common disorder affecting about 30 million male adults in the United States. And while its risk increases with age, the condition can still affect young men.
Sexual intercourse is an important part of any couple’s life. If a man cannot get or maintain an erection due to psychological, emotional, or physical issues, he might end up with anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, or even depression. In the long run, this could lead to relationship issues. Unfortunately, when left unresolved, the man might turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with the psychological effects.
Many studies have shown a close relationship between substance use disorder and health conditions as well as mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse puts it, substance use disorders co-occur at high prevalence with mental illness.
But that’s not the only way impotence and drug use are related. As it turns out, drug use can also cause impotence. Men who abuse drugs or alcohol are at an increased risk of erectile dysfunction.
A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine revealed that 36.4% of male drug abusers could not achieve or maintain an erection. According to the study, men who abuse substances have more chances of experiencing ED and difficulty reaching orgasm than those who don’t.
There are cases where drugs help with erectile dysfunction – like when a doctor prescribes Viagra or Alprostadil for ED. When used correctly, these drugs help increase the sexual desire or blood flow, allowing one to get and maintain an erection and ejaculate. But sometimes, people with erectile dysfunction might be tempted to use more drugs to prolong the pleasure or improve performance. This can worsen the situation and also lead to other issues.
Still on drugs, some people use recreational drugs like cocaine or methamphetamines to induce “uncontrollable lust” or “sexual frenzy.” But the use of these drugs is linked to unsafe or high-risk sexual behaviors. Besides, a majority of stimulant users find that neither of these drugs enhances their sexuality. Let’s look at how different drugs cause impotence.
Prescription drugs like antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, and chemo drugs can help treat different conditions. However, they can also affect blood circulation, hormones, and nerves, leading to ED or increasing the risk of ED. So, if you are having a hard time getting or maintaining an erection while taking prescription drugs, it’s best to talk to your doctor for further assessment. Common prescription drugs that list ED as a potential side effect include:
Prescription drugs cause ED differently. Chemo drugs can damage parts of the nervous system, including those that control erections. On the other hand, blood pressure drugs may prevent the penis’ smooth muscle from relaxing, causing blood not to reach it. Some antihistamines, heart disease drugs, opioids, and antiandrogens decrease or block testosterone, decreasing interest in sex.
Illegal or recreational drugs tend to affect body functioning and can lead to ED. Amphetamines, nicotine, cocaine, and heroin are great examples of illegal drugs that cause erectile function issues. These drugs damage blood vessels and can also restrict blood flow to the penis. Like prescription drugs, illegal drugs also cause ED differently.
Opioid addiction or prolonged use, for instance, can cause androgen deficiencies and menstrual cycle abnormalities, thereby causing sexual issues. Opioids can also alter the functioning of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal pathways (HPG), which regulates sex hormones production and leads to testosterone deficiencies in men and women.
Cocaine, on the other hand, is a stimulant that inhibits the uptake of norepinephrine and dopamine. Initial use may induce sexual arousal and improve ED. But prolonged use lowers sexual desire and erectile function and causes delayed ejaculation/orgasm. This effect tends to worsen when cocaine is taken with alcohol or other psychoactive substances.
Alcohol consumption tends to increase sexual desire and confidence with sexual partners. However, when taken in large amounts, alcohol impairs erection, decreases sexual arousal, and reduces one’s ability to orgasm. Long-term use of alcohol affects various organ systems, leading to all types of sexual dysfunction in men.
Alcohol has an inhibitory effect on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis. When consumed, it limits the production of gonadotropin, causing hypogonadism. It also suppresses testosterone production, causing low libido and quick or delayed ejaculation.
Continuous usage of illicit drugs has long-term effects on the sexual functioning of males. A study analyzed 905 men to check gauge the long-term effects of drug abuse on sexual performance. It focused on four areas, namely: sexual desire, sexual arousal, orgasm, and sexual satisfaction.
Of the 905, 549 had an addiction, while 356 were controls. The men in the addiction group had impaired sexual performance even after one year of staying clean compared to 356 men included as controls.
Sadly, prolonged use of drugs like cocaine can cause permanent sexual side effects. The best way to prevent such sexual issues is to quit abusing drugs. But quitting cold turkey won’t work either. It’s, therefore, a good idea to seek professional help with these. Treatment facilities exist to help people like you (or your loved one) quit abusing drugs.
The relationship between drugs and music goes way back in history. Several historic hymns sung by sailors glamorize drinking alcohol and other contentious activities.
Most people started paying attention to the relationship between music and drugs in the 1930s when jazz musicians based in the United States started allowing their fans to take the music they loved home with them.
Since people had ample time to listen to music, they started noticing how musicians refer to drugs in their songs. Consequently, they started having discussions on the same.
In the 1970s, U.S. President Richard Nixon launched a controversial campaign dubbed ‘war on drugs’ after parents raised concerns that musicians referred to every kind of illicit drug in their music and encouraged listeners to use them.
Listening to music is an enjoyable pastime for most people. You can easily access free music on various apps. Music stimulates the auditory cortex, the part of the brain responsible for music. It is known to improve one’s mood, reduce anxiety, ease pain, reduce depression, and make one more alert, among several other benefits.
Different genres of music have been associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Most modern musicians, including Kottonmouth Kings, Jay-Z, Tech N9ne, and Eminem, refer to drug use in their lyrics. Since several musicians refer to drugs in different types of music, there are concerns that famous artists who have produced popular music, and other genres might contribute to the rising addiction rates.
In this article, we will discuss the music genres that have been associated with drug use over the years. Let’s dive in.
For the longest time, jazz music and jazz musicians have been linked to drug abuse. Between the 1940s and 1950s, drug abuse in the jazz community was at an ultimate high. Despite other economic and social factors that influenced it, most people in the jazz community accepted narcotic use.
At the time, jazz musicians who were addicted justified cocaine, morphine, and heroin use. They claimed that they used drugs to enhance their performance and creativity. Renowned jazz musicians like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Chet Baker used narcotics right before their performances.
Drug use prematurely ended or sidetracked the careers of some talented jazz musicians. Charlie Parker’s drug use is well documented. He battled heroin addiction, alcoholism, liver cirrhosis, ulcers, debt, mental illness, suicide attempts, and broken marriages throughout his adult life.
Most people blamed Parker for causing widespread heroin addiction & mental health issues among jazz musicians. Parker eventually died in 1955 due to the long-term effects of drug abuse.
Some jazz musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and Clifford Brown avoided narcotic use despite people associating jazz with it. They tried to set a good example for others.
Most people tend to closely associate rock and roll music with substance abuse. Many rock n roll hits have drug references, and a few musicians have had to check into rehab to battle addiction. This trend has been ongoing for several decades.
Note that a good number of successful rock ‘n’ roll musicians don’t live long, prosperous lives. The reason is that for many, substance abuse defines their lifestyle. They use illicit drugs while recording hits, before live performances, and during shows.
Rock ‘n’ roll musicians who abuse drugs claim that the drugs help them improve their performances and numb pain. Unfortunately, they have to deal with dire consequences later on.
Jimi Hendrix , a renowned guitarist in music history, also ended up having complications as a result of drug use. In 1970, Hendrix confessed that he had abused LSD, cocaine, and marijuana. On 18th September 1970, he overdosed on barbiturates and died of complications resulting from the overdose. His music career and his life were cut short.
Most talented hip-hop artists grew up in low-income areas where drug use is prevalent. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of them make drug references in their music, sometimes in positive ways. A study revealed that drug references in rap music increased from 11% to 19% in two decades.
Several decades ago, most rappers only referred to alcohol and ‘having a good time’ in their music. However, when Schooly D joined the industry, he romanticized drug use, a criminal lifestyle, and prostituting women.
Since he was very influential, other rappers also started incorporating drug references in their lyrics. Most rappers mentioned marijuana in their music, but a few mentioned other hard drugs. Consequently, drug use quickly spread throughout the rap community.
A few musicians like Eminem and Afroman attempted to address the negative impacts of drug use on musicians’ lives. Additionally, the rap community in general acknowledged the negative impact of drugs after promising rappers like Mac Miller started dying due to overdoses.
Electronic dance music gained popularity in the mid-1990s. It is a diverse music culture that attracts people from all walks of life. Most people claim that there is a spiritual aspect to EDM, hence the need to use drugs.
EDM lovers like communal dance parties, music festivals, and raves. The EDM pulsing beat, colored lights, and fans in a prolonged state of euphoria rubbing against each other typically describe what EDM concerts are like.
Ecstasy (MDMA) is the drug of choice among EDM musicians and fans. Some also use amphetamine. Both drugs complement the repetitive, fast music. Additionally, they give users feelings of pleasure through dance and movement.
Lindsay Lohan, an actress formally known for partying and her love for EDM, recently acknowledged that EDM concerts always left her feeling burned out because she used pills and cocaine.
In general, music allows artists to express themselves and talk about their troubles, and drug abuse seems to be one of the issues they struggle with. Lately, musicians have become vocal about issues related to drug use.
Whether or not music plays a role in encouraging drug addiction is still a controversial debate. However, there is no doubt that specific genres of music are related to drug use.
If you are struggling with an addiction you should consider seeking medical advice and treatment. Drug abuse has adverse effects and can potentially take a toll on your health. Seek help before it’s too late.